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Why choose Ningaloo Discovery?

Why Choose Ningaloo Discovery for your Whale Shark Experience?

So you’re ready to take the plunge and swim with the biggest fish in the ocean, and why look anywhere else? There’s none quite like us!

Our passion and enthusiasm for what we do is recognised by customers and industry professionals alike, earning us multiple Silver and Bronze awards in Adventure Tourism and Eco Tourism in the WA Tourism Awards and Tripadvisor Certificates of Excellence for every year running.

Our Whale Shark License was awarded to us. That’s right, we didn’t buy the rights to provide you with this experience, we earned it!

Our license was the first to be released in years and after the hefty process of sifting through many applicants, the Department of Parks and Wildlife decided that due to our high standards, long running reputation in the Eco Tourism industry, our extensive knowledge, and passion for Whale Sharks and the marine environment, we deserved to operate these tours. Team that with a strong and vibrant crew who retain their position with Ningaloo Discovery season after season and it’s clear that this isn’t just our job, it’s everything that we are, and we want to share it all with you.

The Ningaloo Discovery family is always growing (our guests choose to return year after year!) because they trust us, and it’s worth every minute!

Find out more below!


Our 60-foot luxury sailing catamaran with twin engines. Windcheetah is a purpose built luxurious tourism vessel that has all the extras to make her the ultimate whale shark experience vessel. 

She has an extended waterline transom and two large engines in order for her to reach high speeds under power enabling her to reach the Whale sharks fast. She also boasts 360 degree viewing with comfortable seating areas around the fore-deck (trampolines, daybeds and bean bags), along the sides, inside the spacious saloon and also along the protected lounged rear deck area (undercover from the elements).

Being a catamaran she is one of the most stable vessels around making her the perfect choice for anyone worried about motion sickness. The expanse of 2 hulls also allows for a large deck area meaning there is always lots of space for all on-board. Her hulls are below water level at our water entry point making her the most easy vessel to get out of the water onto.

We endeavour to get the sails out wherever possible (time and weather dependent) for a romantic sail along the reef allowing ample wildlife viewing opportunities without interrupting the animals with noisy engines. Due to the layout of the vessel we are also able to (weather and time permitting) deploy our famous cargo net for an exhilarating tow through the crystal clear waters of the Ningaloo lagoons.

Windcheetah has had a varied history of treasure hunting in the South Pacific, Dive charters around Kangaroo Island, Surf charters through Indonesia and she is absolutely loving life at the moment taking our guests swimming with Whalesharks off the beautiful Ningaloo Reef everyday.

Check out the Windcheetah Gallery here.

whale shark swims
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Eco Tourism, Marine Conservation & Safety

One of the many things that sets us aside from the rest is our constant validation of our environmental footprint. Owner and director Sarah holds an honours degree in Marine Resource Management and applies her degree in conjunction with our operations. Matt has extensive experience working in Sea Search and Rescue and Marine Safety, so rest assured you are in capable hands.


Investigator is a Westcoaster, built specifically in Western Australia as the optimum power vessel for comfort and speed in Western Australian conditions.

She has been extensively refurbished to offer two huge areas of seating and viewing for guests and easy, direct access to and from the water. Her upper deck sits almost 5 m above the water and boasts 360 degree viewing whilst her lower deck is well protected from the elements should it get a bit windy and is extremely spacious and comfortable. There is also a lounged area in the cockpit offering sheltered wildlife viewing options.

Investigator is named after the famous vessel “HMS Investigator” in which Matthew Flinders first circumnavigated Australia in 1802. She passed the Ningaloo on this very first circumnavigation of the continent.

Click here to check out the Investigator gallery.

Our Crew

Have we mentioned that as an added bonus your tours are inclusive of the most sought after crew in Western Australia?

Ningaloo Discovery owners Matt Oakley and Sarah Ellis have spent most of their time working hard, and raising standards to where they are today. Quite often your skipper for the day will be half of this dynamic duo! They have decades of experience working the waters of the West Australian coast. They live and breathe this industry.

Over time, we’ve carefully selected who we think are the best and brightest people around! Each and every one of our crew holds a current Senior First Aid Certificate as a minimum, as well as a Bronze Medallion surf lifesaving rescue or Dive Master certification. They have all undertaken Department of Parks and Wildlife training in Whale Shark interaction and Cultural Heritage.

We have 4 qualified and experienced skippers amongst our team, and a qualified Marine Specialist onboard to answer any of your marine related queries. Some would say it’s a prerequisite of working with Ningaloo Discovery that you must be an all round awesome person! We don’t just work together, we have our very own little Ningaloo Discovery family and we want to meet you!

The amazing crew of Matt, Daisy, Blaze and Matt and Kate took great care of us, giving us 5 great swims with the Whale sharks!


Contact us

For any last minute bookings, private charter enquiries or questions, get in touch with Ningaloo Discovery below